Name Origins

What is the ethnic origin of the word BANGS for fringed hair?

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2008-10-03 00:49:55

"Bangs," the hair style, does indeed come from the same roots as

"bang," the sound of a gun, a slamming door, or countless other

abrupt noises. The word "bang" first appeared in written English in

the 16th century, but is thought to have been known in the dialects

of Northern England long before that date. "Bang" comes from an Old

Norse word "banga" meaning "to hammer," and is a linguistic relic

of the Viking invasions of England beginning in the eighth century.

"Bang" at first meant "to strike violently," but gradually the word

came to be used for any sudden or violent movement, especially one

which caused a loud noise. One of the earliest written examples of

this expanded sense of "bang" refers to slamming a door, an

apparently universal human action which may yet prove to be as

great an instrument of self- expression as the typewriter. Aside

from doors, nearly anything could go "bang," from guns to pianos,

and "bang" also came to mean fight or beat up.

"Bang" continued to evolve, and by the 19th century was used to

convey suddenness or finality, which brings us at last from Old

Norse hammers to modern haircuts. "Bangs" are so-called because

they are created by cutting the hair "bang- off," abruptly and

straight across the forehead. And finally, at the risk of offending

our bang-coiffed readers, I must tell you that "bangs" as a young

lady's hairstyle almost certainly originated with the practice of

cutting horses' tails straight across, a style known to this day as

a "bang-tail." answer from worddetective.com


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